Posted Aug-04-2014 10:17 PM
A long standing competitor for the title of largest carnivorous dinosaur, but how big was it really?
Let's take a look at a section of Wikipedia article:
"Carcharodontosaurus is one of the longest and heaviest known carnivorous dinosaurs, with various scientists proposing length estimates ranging between 12 and 13 m (39-43.5 ft) and weight estimates between 6 and 15 metric tons. "
between 6-15 tons? say whaaattt?
I've never understood why there are such extremely high weight estimates for Carcharodontosaurus.
What's more, the second species C. Iguidensis was thought to rival the size estimates of Saharicus, and will also be discussed here. But, to get a better understanding of Carcharodontosaurus, we can look at a close relative...a species i have covered in this series: Giganotosaurus.
The skull of the new Scott Hartman's G. carolinii holotype reconstruction is 1.57m, about the same as the 1.56m for the neotype of C. saharicus (1.6m is rounded up) which seems pretty reasonable when both skulls have pretty much the same dimensions where they overlap (from Sereno's orginal paper). also, C. iguidensis didn't had a 1.75m skull nor it was 14m long, that all is made up by the press and mischievous sites, the actual paper by Brusatte and Sereno makes no mention of any skull or body length estimates and the only references of size is that it was the same size as the neotype of C. saharicus
Sereno estimated the femur length of C. saharicus neotype at 1.45m, compare that to the 1.43m of the G. carolinii holotype, they're for all intents and purposes the same size, though if the 8% bigger specimen of Giganotosaurus is really 8% bigger and not just bigger headed (Stan, an 11.8m T. rex has a skull about the same size as Sue's) then we can say that it was bigger but it won't be definitive because we've only got 2-3 specimens for both.
Carchy seems too fragmentary to determine a difference at all, though going by skeletal reconstructions it has likely a slightly more slender body and less elongated skull.
To sum it up, Carchy had an overall lower TBL and was probably a little lighter then Giganotosaurus, being morphilogically more slender. My estimations put this guy at around 12.4 meters and 6.5-7 tons. Moreover, these carcharodontosaurs weren't the hype that media articles made them out to be. Estimations were oversensationalized, making these enigmatic beasts larger then they were in life. A common trend in large theropods.
Nature doesn't deceive us; it is we who deceive ourselves.